The CFPB has announced the appointment of two new members to its Academic Research Council (ARC).  The ARC is an advisory body that provides the CFPB’s Office of Research with advice and feedback on its research work.  The new members are Raphael Bostic from the University of Southern California and Melvin Stephens from the University of Michigan.

The announcement included biographies for all ARC members, including the following information on the new appointees:

  • Raphael Bostic: Dr. Bostic holds the position of Chair in Governance and the Public Enterprise at the University of Southern California’s School of Public Policy.  He recently returned to USC after serving for 3 years in the Obama Administration as the Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research at HUD.  In that position, Dr. Bostic was a principal advisor to the HUD Secretary on policy and research.  He is a thought leader on policies associated with housing and urban development.  His work spans many fields including home ownership, housing finance, neighborhood change, and the role of institutions in shaping policy effectiveness.  A particular emphasis has been on how the private, public, and non-profit sectors interact to influence household access to economic and social amenities.
  • Melvin Stephens: Dr. Stephens is an associate professor of public policy and economics at the School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, and a faculty associate in the Population Studies Center and Survey Research Center, Institute for Social Research.  His research intersects labor economics, household consumption behavior, and aging and retirement issues.  His analysis of household consumption changes examines responses both to infrequent events including retirement, job loss, and loan repayment as well as to frequent income receipt including paychecks and Social Security benefits.  Currently, his research projects include examining the impact of labor market activity on voter turnout, the impact of school law changes on educational outcomes, and consumption behavior in both the U.S. and Japan.

The CFPB also announced that the ARC will be holding its annual meeting on April 25, 2014.  According to the agenda, the meeting will include sessions on methodological advances around disclosure, measuring consumer costs and benefits of consumer financial protection regulations, and using administrative frames for borrower surveys.

We were disappointed to see that the agenda indicates that the ARC will be meeting in closed session.  The CFPB’s closed-door meeting policy for the ARC and its three other advisory groups has been the subject of criticism by industry as well as by members of the House Financial Services Committee.  Last month, Republican Congressman Jeb Hensarling, who chairs the Committee, called on the CFPB to end its closed-door meeting policy for all of its advisory groups.  Also last month, Republican Congressman Sean Duffy, a Committee member, introduced H.R. 4262, a bill that specifies that the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) applies to all of the CFPB’s advisory groups.  The FACA imposes various requirements on advisory committees to federal agencies, including that committee meetings are presumptively open to the public with certain limited exceptions.